CL's family in Jakarta are originally from Padang. And according to them, Padang food is the best. After staying with them for two days, I have to agree.
Luckily, the flood didn't obstruct our way to Restoran Sinar Jaya, which serves authentic Padang food:
The first thing you see when you walk in are the stacks of dishes in the window:
If you're like us, you grab a table and let the experts figure out what to eat:
We were warned by CL's family repeatedly that we should avoid tap water in Jakarta. This meant that wherever we went, we were handed water bottles while CL's family sipped on tea. We were, however, allowed to have rice:
Here is how things work at Sinar Jaya. You pick out what you want, they bring it out to you in small dishes, and you get charged based on what you eat. Certain dishes are charged by the dish, meaning that you'll be charged as long as you touch it. Certain other dishes are charged by the piece, meaning that you get charged based on how many pieces you eat. The uneaten pieces are taken back and from what I gather, served to someone else. That surprised me at first and then I realized I shouldn't be surprised at all. When in Asia...
Padang cuisine is on the spicy side. Even the most innocuous looking plate may be hiding chili bits and unspeakable pain. I'm the first to admit how much of a wimp I am when it comes to spicy foods. But sometimes, the pain is worth it. Like at Sinar Jaya.
Since every dish was doubled, we had to resort to stacking to get all the dishes onto the table.
There was chicken:
And my favorite, beef rendang:
Compared to the beef rendang I've had in the States, this one was a lot drier. And I'm not just talking about the sauce. It's cooked for so long that the beef itself is dry, almost like flavorful beef jerky.
The veggies were a refreshing reprieve from the spiciness of all the other dishes:
I don't remember what kind of greens this was:
I also don't remember what kind of innards this was, but I remember liking it:
I avoided this one:
I figured it would be suicidal to try just straight up chilies.
This meat dish was very sour and my second favorite:
We liked the restaurant so much that we went back for dinner the next day. The owner even let us pose with all the dishes in the window.
We're obnoxious tourists like that.
Now that I know where all the good food is, if I ever get to visit Indonesia again, there's no way I'm skipping Padang.
Restaoran Sinar Jaya
Jl Muara Karang Raya No. 135
Muara Karang, Jakarta, Indonesia